CHR urges authorities to uphold rule of law in fight vs crime

CHR urges authorities to uphold rule of law in fight vs crime
An alleged drug dealer is handcuffed during a police operation conducted in Manila on March 15, 2018.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights called on the government to do “what is good and right” and to uphold the rule of law as it carries out its fight against criminality.

In a statement Wednesday, two days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address, CHR said it “[decries] the culture of killings and the blatant disregard for the rule of law.”

“The CHR continues to stress the primacy of the human life, even as we address issues on criminality. We emphasize that the call to respect the rights of the accused does not mean disregarding the crimes committed and its ill effect to victims,” lawyer Jacqueline De Guia, the commission’s spokesperson, said.

In his last SONA, Duterte taunted the International Criminal Court to put on record his threats against the people out to “destroy” the country with illegal drugs.

“I would never deny and the ICC can record it: those who destroy my country, I will kill you. And those who destroy the young people of my country, I will kill you. I will really finish you because I love my country,” the chief executive said.

He added that dealing with those involved in the illegal drug trade the “legal way” will “take you months and years.”

In a report on human rights situation in the Philippines released last year, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the widespread killings, detentions and red-tagging by state actors “suggest that [Duterte’s] public comments may have incited violence and may have had the effect of encouraging, backing, or even ordering human rights violations with impunity.”

De Guia said the CHR remains hopeful that despite such pronouncements “that seem to tolerate a culture of killing and impunity, authorities will still adhere in doing what is good and right, as guided by our laws. ”

The CHR official added that perpetrators should be made accountable for the harms they caused and face the consequence of their crimes.

“This is exactly [why] we have laws—to ensure accountability from perpetrators guided by due process and preserve guaranteed rights to all Filipinos as embodied in our very Constitution,” she said.

The commission said it also recognizes the government’s achievements in upholding the right to education, right to health, and right to effective and efficient public service. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 27, 2021 - 10:58am

Follow this thread for updates on the preparations for and the delivery of President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address.

Photo: RTVM screengrab from SONA 2020

July 27, 2021 - 10:58am

President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address was a confirmation that killing is a government policy, rights group Karapatan says.

"Duterte knows the day of reckoning is coming for him with the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor’s request to investigate him for his crimes against the Filipino people. He may brag and pretend not to care, but his quip to 'add another' dead body amid the calls for accountability is an insidious — and serious — threat," the group also says.

July 26, 2021 - 6:35pm

President Duterte says the Delta variant of the COVID-19 is "far more aggressive and dangerous."

Duterte hopes the variant will not spread any further but if something wrong happens, "it will be just like what happened in the early days."

July 26, 2021 - 6:21pm

President Duterte claims his government launched the most extensive amelioration program in history with the passage of Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2.

July 26, 2021 - 6:17pm

President Duterte talks about the pandemic response, joking that he may have the deadly virus that killed 27,000 Filipinos.

Earlier he told everyone to pray to God to solve the pandemic, which has left thousands of Filipinos out of work.

July 26, 2021 - 5:59pm

President Duterte revisits the issue with Metro Manila water providers, now Razon-led Manila Water Company Inc. and Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services Inc., which he earlier accused of forging "onerous" contracts with the government.

"I told (Finance Secretary) Dominguez, 'tell them that I am no longer honoring the contract,'" the president recalls telling his finance chief. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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